HU students help middle-schoolers navigate the jungle

By Derrick Collins II

Camera phones flashed. Uncomfortably tightened braces adorned smiling white teeth. The aroma of crisp notebook paper and wooden pencils permeated the hall. The morning bell blared, signaling the start of the first day at Lindsay Middle School on Sept. 4.

Unbeknownst to the students, a surprise awaited just beyond the metallic blue doors. As each grade marched through the front entrance, Hampton University students were posted along the hallway to cheer them on, along with faculty and staff.

As parents and their eager sixth grade students burst through the doors, flooding the front entrance, they heard shouting: "Day by day, I wanna be a lion!"

The chant echoed through the yellow and blue brick halls, covered with murals of majestic lions, encouraging the young students to a jungle they will soon tame.

The event was sponsored by Hampton University's Greer Dawson-Wilson Student Leadership Training Program (SLP), and included Booker Elementary School and Lindsay and Benjamin Syms middle schools.

"I saw a light in those kids' faces," said Dr. Chevese Thomas, Principal of Lindsay Middle School. "Some of them don't get encouraged like this at home, so it really makes me feel good to see that they can look up to people like you."

Some staff and administration joined in with the chants. Assistant principal Mr. Deon Garner danced with the Student Leaders while cheering for the middle schoolers.

"It's a great thing you all are doing for these kids, we really appreciate you all," Garner said, before snapping a group picture with the student leaders.

Accompanying the students at Lindsay Middle School were a sea of parents and younger siblings, eager to watch the first day of middle school.

"The parents loved it," said senior Christian Caudle, the SLP student who organized the event. "They love recording moments like this and seeing that they have that older support from college students for their child."

Hampton junior Mia Luckett believes that being a positive example for the younger students may push them to want to succeed in school. Luckett was in the sixth grade hallway during the morning event.

"Hopefully us being there will let them know that school is a good thing," Luckett said. "I just want to make an impact on at least one kids' life."

3 Hampton U. students participate in Nation magazine conference

By Leondra Head

NEW YORK – Three Hampton University students represented the campus at The Nation magazine Student Journalism Conference, where students discussed how to cover politics and social movements with professional, award-winning journalists.

Kathryn Grant, Leondra Head and Alazja Kirk represented Hampton's Scripps-Howard School of Journalism and Communications on March 24, the only Historically Black College or University at the conference. These students said they enjoy learning innovative ways to enhance their reporting skills.

"The conference opened my eyes to a lot of new ideas," said Grant, a freshman from Houston. "Each and every person came from different places with different experiences and ultimately allowed me to learn from them through their success and mistakes. I learned a lot about how to report and how reporting on things that the audience does not already know shines an even brighter light on prevalent issues."

The one-day conference brought together 60 student journalists from across the nation from schools such as Columbia University, University of Florida, and the University of California at Berkeley.

The day started with a panel about how movements are responding to President Donald Trump and how to report on those social movements. The panel consisted of The Nation journalists Ari Berman, Julianne Hing, Sarah Jaffe and Emmy-Award winning journalist Collier Meyerson.

"I've reported on social movements and protests in response to Trump's presidency," said Meyerson. "Journalists must get the juice of the story by interviewing protestors who were a part of the movement. Knowing how to report during intense protests will make you all better journalists." taught me well about what to expect, so I was able to keep up with the fast pace of the program and excel."

Students also engaged in a sports movements panel where Dave Zirin, a sports editor for The Nation, discussed how to accurately cover athletes when speaking against social injustices. Zirin reported on NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he decided to kneel during the singing of the National Anthem when players were requested to stand during the patriotic song. Kaepernick publicly expressed his opinion on the social injustices African-Americans face.

"The media had a field day when Kaepernick sat down during the national anthem," said Zurin. "No one expects for an athlete to voice their concerns about social injustices because they can be blackballed." Zurin also expressed his concerns on how the media publicizes black athletes' wrongdoings more in comparison to white athletes. He said, "It's important as a journalist to accurately report the truth and hold to the same standard regardless of an athlete's race."

The day ended with students networking with each other over dinner in The Nation's ballroom. Students talked about what they had learned during the conference and how they can apply those things in the classroom once they return to their respective colleges.

"I significantly learned a lot on how to be a better journalist overall," said Samantha Smith, a graduate student at Columbia University. "I can now cover protests better that happen here in New York and be more confident when I go out into the field to report."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. student wins 3 awards at journalism boot camp

GREENSBORO, North Carolina – A Hampton University student received awards at the the 25th Annual NABJ Short Course program March 15-19.

Aliah Williamson, a senior Journalism major from San Diego, was among 30 students selected to participate in this intensive program. The NABJ Short Course is four days of journalism training that gives students first-hand experience on what it is like to be in the news business. During the hands-on workshop students produce their own newscast, webcast, podcasts and other media materials. The students also attend seminars and are mentored by industry professionals.

The NABJ Short Course program celebrated 25 years of being at North Carolina A&T State University here. The program was started by Nagatha Tonkins to help students prepare for the fast paced and cutthroat world of news. To celebrate, the NABJ Short Course program hosted a Celebration Gala and Awards event with prestigious alumni of the program returning to celebrate.

The keynote speaker of the event was American Urban Radio Network White House Correspondent April Ryan.

At the Celebration Gala and Awards event, Williamson represented Hampton University well. For her work at the short course, she was awarded the Sidmel Estes Best Producing Award, the Ted Holtzclaw Award for Overall Excellence and a scholarship for excellence from NBC Vice President of News Anzio Williams.

Williamson said, "I attribute all the success and give credit for all of the awards to Scripps Howard School of Journalism. My professors taught me well about what to expect, so I was able to keep up with the fast pace of the program and excel."

Williamson encouraged juniors and seniors interested in broadcast journalism to apply for the 2018 Short Course.

"The Short Course opportunity is one that should not be missed if you are serious about being a news reporter," she said. "The information and networking that you get from it can't be duplicated in the classroom, and it's much better to learn it now than when you're on the job."

You must be an NABJ member who has paid national dues in order to access the application. Visit for more information

Clash of titans, journalism vs. strategic communications

By Victoria Blow

On Feb. 24, Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications hosted a discussion by Simone Weichselbaum and Bill Keller, the staff writer and editor in chief of the Marshall Project, a non-profit news outlet that focuses on criminal justice.

It touches on topics ranging from Investigative reporting on the criminal justice system, short pieces with context analyzing the news. The Marshall Project avoids doing what everyone else is doing, said the speakers. They published a daily newsletter and partner with larger news organizations such as NPR.

The idea is to get the most eyes on their stories, said Weichselbaum and Bill Keller.

Keller told a story about Neil Barsky, who was inspired create this project because of his parents courageous acts during the civil rights movement to facilitate open housing.

Keller also said Barsky was inspired by "Devil in the Grove," a Pulitzer Prize-winning book about a rape case in the 1940s that highlighted the civil rights work of Thurgood Marshall. Barsky was so struck by this book that he began to dig deep and research this event. He came to the realization that people needed a voice for these stories and created the Marshall Project.

The speakers talked about the ethical dilemmas that journalists face in publishing stories and the need for people of color in newsrooms to shed light on stories that get thrown under the rug.

Weichselbaum was able to offer the journalism students tips and strategies on how to cultivate sources and who to seek relationships with if you're a journalist in a new city.

"You talk to three different people and they'll each have a different version of the truth," she said.

Not only did she have truth for journalism students, but also for the Strategic Communications students as well, whether they liked the delivery or not.

Assistant Professor Drew Berry asked the 50-student audience if strategic communications students are of service to reporters for information? Many students said "no" due to their connection and ties to the brand or company they serve.

Weichselbaum in turn ruffled some student's feathers. "What do they teach you in flack school?" she asked.

Rashad Williams, a senior strategic communications major, answered, "Aside from what we're taught, service was brought into question and I think that PR students and PR work is more of servitude depending on what field that you're in. The same PR position you would hold for a corporation can be for black businesses. The core competencies that we learn are similar to journalism and can be applied in a different way."

Scripps Howard School students were surprised to learn that outside of these walls the world of journalism and public affairs is actually divided among the truth seekers versus the brand preservers.

"This is the first time I've heard of a bad relationship between public relations professionals and journalists," Jennifer Lowe, a strategic communications major from California.

Assistant Professor Lynn Waltz said, "I hope that students recognize that there's a lot of really important work to be done. Too many students think they want to be in the limelight. Sometimes you can do far more in the role of a journalist telling the truth for your country."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Black women and space exploration at Hampton museum

By Kenya Waugh

The Hampton History Museum is to honor three of the many women behind NASA's space expeditions in an exhibit called, "When the Computer Wore a Skirt: NASA's Human Computers," opening Saturday. The exhibit will feature articles and pictures which document women's contribution to American history.

Starting in the 1930s, the Langley Research Center hired five women to resolve engineers' formulas calculated in flight and wind tunnel tests. By 1942, these women became vital to the success of NASA through their scientific results. In the following decade, NASA integrated its computing coalition and included African-American women.

"These women were absolutely integral to the process, working as specialized mathematicians on complex orbital mechanics with their brains," said museum curator Allen Hoilman. Hoilman decided to create the exhibit after previously meeting Katherine Johnson, an African-American woman whose calculations helped successfully launch John Glenn into space in 1962. He cited Johnson's math manual development, which today's engineers use.

Hoilman began gathering memorabilia in May for the exhibit, in an effort to capture an ignored yet pertinent part of history. The exhibit has three components: a section about computer systems at NASA during the 1950s, a video biography about Johnson called "Katherine Johnson: The Girl Who Loves to Count," and artifacts such as a mechanic calculating machine. The exhibit also highlights African-American mathematicians Dorothy Vaughn and Hampton native Mary Jackson.

While some Hampton University students saw "Hidden Figures," a film released in December that detailed the stories of these women, others who did not found the museum's new exhibit relevant to their own history as African-American college students.

"I think this story is extremely important because black women aren't taught that we are future scientists, or at least I wasn't in high school," said Alexis Weston (pictured right), a sophomore English major from Temecula, California. Weston also said that as a Hampton student, she feels directly related to history thanks to Jackson's work. Other female students interviewed resonated with the stories of Jackson, Johnson and Vaughn on a deeper level, as many felt that the female engineers empowered black women to achieve their goals.

Njeri Fullwood, a sophomore psychology major from Largo, Maryland, said that she wanted to especially see the film and learn about their story with her younger sister: "My mom took both of us and we all cried. These women were going through so much while still doing what they loved. My sister really wants to be a nurse later in life, and I want her to understand that the possibilities are endless for black women."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Character, fiscal discipline define Hampton U., said president

By Taelor Bentley

William R. Harvey, EdD, president of Hampton University and Chairman of the President's Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, sat down and spoke with C-SPAN about the impact of HBCUs in our country and also about Hampton and what it has to offer. Harvey described Hampton as a wonderful institution that provides the very best education possible with the best and the brightest students.

"Hampton has always had the movers and shakers in this country associated with us," Harvey told interviewer Pedro Echevarria of Washington Journal. Financier and philanthropist John Rockefeller, inventor and philanthropist George Eastman, and engineer and politician Coleman DuPont were a few of the big names who have served on the board of trustees. Harvey took pride in saying that Hampton University is among the greatest and proves it as well by emphasizing character development, honesty and respect among all students.

Although this university only has 4,400 students, when asked if he was concerned about its size and longevity, Harvey made it clear that Hampton has chosen to have a small student body and could have many more students based upon the 19,000 applications it received for 1,000 openings the previous year.

When being interviewed for the position of the university president, Harvey said he told the board he planned to run Hampton University as a business for educational objectives. Since becoming president, Harvey has propelled the school from $29 million in endowment to $288 million. There is also a new $225-million proton therapy cancer treatment center that has treated over 1,000 patients.

"Our legacy is one of high quality," stated Harvey. He believes the character of Hamptonians is extremely important, having talked about it multiple times during the 38-minute interview.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

C-SPAN to interview Hampton U. President William R. Harvey

By Malik Jones

HU President William H. Harvey Hampton University President William R. Harvey will be giving an interview to C-SPAN "Washington Journal" 8:15 a.m. Thursday where he is expected to discuss his views on education and why HBCUs are still relevant in today's ever-changing society.

The televised interview precedes a noon-to 2-p.m. visit of the C-SPAN bus HBCU tour.

Since assuming the position of president in 1978, Harvey has been the flagship force of Hampton University for over 36 years. His dynamic leadership, charisma, and relentless pursuit of progress and growth have earned him numerous accolades throughout his life and made him one of the country's most esteemed university presidents.

In 2010, the Daily Press awarded Harvey its coveted "Citizen of the Year Award" for his work in developing the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute. This facility is working to aid in research and treatment for various cancers, specifically prostate cancer, which is prominent within the Hampton Roads community.

In 2013, Hampton University received a five-year, $13.5-million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to begin a Minority Men's Health Initiative. This initiative is devoted to finding solutions to major health disparities plaguing minority males, specifically that of African-American men. Only through Harvey's service mentality and propensity to leadership could Hampton have secured such an important grant for such a worthy cause.

Harvey also serves at the pleasure of President Barack Obama as chair of his HBCU Advisory Board. Here, he works closely with other advisors and cabinet members to find solutions to the country's financial aid/student loan crisis.

Under his tenure as president, Harvey has trained 17 individuals who have gone on to become presidents of other universities. His most recent "graduate" was former Hampton Provost Pamela Hammond who is currently the first African-American female president of Virginia State University.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U., NSU and EPA agree to collaborate

By Gabriella Barnes

Hampton University and Norfolk State University joined forces with the EPA and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Monday.

The agreement is expected to increase the number of minorities involved in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. By introducing minorities to these topics, the MOU expects to also inspire students to aspire to work in careers involving environmental science, air pollution, and water pollution issues, said officials at the conference.

HU President William R. Harvey was in attendance, along with EPA Mid-Atlantic Region Administrator Shawn Garvin, Norfolk State University President Eddie N. Moore, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Director, David K. Paylor.

"The EPA prompted this," said Janice Bolden, an environmental scientist with the federal agency. "We're always looking at careers, and HBCUs are a good feeder group."

Hampton University is no stranger to technological advancements in the science and environmental fields. There are currently 13 students pursuing Masters and Ph.D. degrees on campus at the Center of Atmospheric Sciences, said Harvey. These students are among a growing number involved in environmental science fields and Hampton continues its efforts to promote clean air and environmental advances.

The MOU also includes the program called LEAP- Linking Environmental and Academic Programs, located at Hampton and Norfolk State universities. The LEAP program was started in the early 2000s, directed towards high school minorities. LEAP came to Norfolk State in 2008 and targeted high school minorities in hopes of increasing their knowledge of air pollution, water conservation and general environmental welfare. Hampton University uses the LEAP program in its graduate school as part of the effort to increase air quality.

According to Garvin of EPA, several students from both universities called and reported concerns to the EPA. Students found high levels of air pollution and air monitoring and wanted something done. These reports were right on target, because of as of 2013 there were no federal rules against carbon pollution. The drastic climate change however prompted President Obama in June 2013 to address the issue. The EPA responded by establishing carbon guidelines last June.

Progress is being made in light of all the new regulations. There has been drastic change in air pollution and environmental health in the past 50 years, said Paylor of DEQ. There are now water treatments statewide and fish kills have been reduced to about 400 a year, he said. The United States also has had the best two years for air quality for 2013 and 2014, with nitrogen levels reducing, reduced acid rain, and increased environmental leadership.

The MOU between universities promotes innovation and discoveries in the environmental fields. While signing the MOU was not of any cost to either school, the MOU should reap economic benefits. The funds produced are to be used for job readiness, skills training, career education, exposure information and counseling.

Funds are also to be used for orientation to post-secondary education and training options, developing job opportunities, job placement, and Upward Bound for high school students in the Hampton Roads area, according to the agreement.

Additional reporting by Diamond Sydnoor. Photo by Mariah Summers. The trio are students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

‘Know your history' mobile exhibit comes to Hampton U.

By Jordan E. Grice

Rodney J. Reynolds, publisher of American Legacy magazine, was on Hampton University's campus Wednesday.

His visit here pertained to the American Legacy magazine "Know your History" mobile museum tour. The magazine is no longer in production; however, the exhibit showed covers and topics that the quarterly had done over 15 years since 1995.

While aboard the motorized archive, visitors could see covers with African-American icons including Rosa Parks, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Bessie Coleman and the Tuskegee Airmen.

The exhibit also has memorabilia of black history like a baseball display with the crowning piece being a crisp white baseball jersey that reads "Robinson" in blue letters on the back. Along with the keepsakes on display visitors could view videos that cover African-American military units and their contributions to wars throughout history.

Caryn Fuller, the mobile museum, docent had this to say about the exhibit: "The American Legacy magazine was meant to promote black history and educate the readers on the more obscure events that took place in black history. The magazine is no longer in production but the exhibit is meant to bring awareness and encourage people to learn more about black history."

Nashid S. Madyun, director of the Hampton University Museum and Archives and publisher of International Review of African American Art, said, "Rodney J. Reynolds certainly represents and elevates the optimism in the American Dream. For decades, he has been able to bridge the many sectors of African-American heritage and the American legacy through in depth retrospectives in music, humanity, and visual culture, with a passion and integrity that commands recognition. Having a long list of awards pales in comparison to the remarkable ability and consistency he has shown in chronicling the complex tapestry of the African Diaspora and its American path.

"He is truly an American treasure."

The "Know your history" mobile exhibit was on display in front of the Student Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also, Reynolds was the guest on The Caldwell Café at 6:30 p.m. in the Scripps Howard School TV studio.

Additional research provided by Aleeah Sutton. The writers are students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

HU Continues to Expand Research Efforts

By Kathryn Kenny

In a few years, current Hampton University freshmen should see a noticeable change in their classrooms by the time they enter their senior year. Hampton U. has begun undergoing plans of transitioning from primarily a teaching to a research university, one of the most sought-out rankings in the realm of higher education.

This transformation will lead to significant changes within the classroom such as a more research-intensive curriculum and possibly greater classroom sizes.

It's no secret that Hampton University President William R. Harvey has had his eyes set on becoming a research university for quite some time. Harvey's agenda over the past decade has been to bring research to the forefront by trying to expand the footprint of the university through a variety of research-based efforts.

The university opened the Proton Therapy Center in October 2010, which conducts cancer research.

"Hampton University's faculty and students are conducting cutting-edge research that addresses major health issues and global climate change," said Harvey in a statement just after the center opened. "The newly opened Hampton University Proton Institute, the largest of its kind in the world, demonstrates our dedication to research and treatment that will ease human suffering and save lives."

According to The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a research university is classified by their level of research activity, as measured by research expenditures, number of research doctorates awarded, number of research-focused faculty, and other factors. These universities are ranked as either a "very high research university" or a "high research university."

Bill Thomas, associate vice president for the Office of Governmental Relations at HU, has worked closely with the university's transition. Thomas said that Hampton is concentrating its efforts specifically in obtaining contracts based on the university's research capabilities and strengths. Thomas also said that the university identifies nursing, pharmacy, cancer research, atmospheric science, education and physics as their program strengths.

"The future of education has become research intensive," said Thomas. "If HBCUs don't take the time to transition, then they are going to become non-existent. Now, many state and private schools are reaching out to talented African American's and offering them opportunities in research that HBCU's simply cannot. HBCU's must be competitive to offer STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math] research to these bright students. In order to be competitive in the 21st century, we must find research dollars and opportunities in order to achieve this status." Thomas said.

Over the past decade, Hampton has led the pack in terms of gathering research grants and funding.

According to the National Science Foundation, Hampton U. was the leading HBCU recipient for science and engineering funding for two consecutive years in a report done in 2005.

At that time Hampton ranked higher than Howard University and Jackson State University, both established research universities.

Hampton U. takes the lead in comparison to top Virginia universities in federal contract dollars as well. Hampton received more than $111 million between 2000 and 2007 according to figures from the website. Hampton U. has received over $140 million in climate research funding from NASA for the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite mission, making it the first Historically Black College and University to have total mission responsibility for a NASA satellite mission. Among its regional counter parts states that Hampton U. received $11.56 million in 2007 compared to $8.44 million at Old Dominion University, $549,290 at Norfolk State University, and $326,940 at Christopher Newport University.

In order to become a research university, Hampton will encourage professors to incorporate research into coursework as well.

The primary mission of private and state flagship (well-known within the state) research universities is to generate research and produce graduate students.

One of the draw backs at many research institutions is the large class sizes. Hampton University prides its self in having smaller classrooms but on the road to becoming a research university, classroom sizes might increase in order to allow professors time to conduct research according to a study done by the U.S. News and World Report.

Here is why: research universities require a number of its professors to conduct a certain amount of research outside of their course load.

It's important to note that even though professors are instructed to conduct research, they are not negligent of the university's main purpose which is to educate its students.

According to the Georgia Health Center, At most research universities, including GRU, less than 20 percent of all faculty do any significant amount of research.

Within the classroom Hampton University has already began to undergo incorporating research into its curriculum.

The Freddye T. Davy Honors College is an academic enhancement program for the undergraduate experience. The program's main initiatives are to enhance and create more research experiences for the students. The program promotes a number of different ways for students to participate in research or gain research experience, most notable, the Stanford University Gateway to Science Careers Program

"In school you gather a wealth of technical knowledge that is a little different than real life experience. The research opportunities bridge the technical things that you learn in a classroom to real life situations. It is an advanced level of learning. Your participation in research is an application of those facts that you learn in the classroom and that process enhances your understanding of it." Said Sabin Duncan, Ed.D., interim director of the Freddye T. Davy Honors College.

The Honors College has also produced several Rhodes Scholar finalists, most recently, Josh Gopeesingh, a senior chemical engineering major who was recognized this year.

Duncan said, "Becoming a doctoral research institution is a process, because we are in the beginning stages of that process we are not at the forefront of research just yet. As an individual, I value a 'process experience' more than I value arriving at a destination. Even if we (HU) were at the forefront of Proton Therapy research, we would still be in the process of trying to be the best.

"We haven't reached a destination just yet. We are there now and we will be there in the future in another more expanded capacity."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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